True Blood S5E2: The Only Thing Scarier Than Vampires Is The US Government

Last night’s True Blood forsook the plots we care about most for an extended detour into political allegory. This was mildly annoying, but several plot lines were thematically tied together(!) for once, and that theme was “Republicans are bad,” so I’ll take it.

When the last episode ended, we wanted to know very badly what the hell was up with Vampire Tara. Would she turn out to be, as Pam predicted, “totally fucktarded” due to massive brain loss, or would she thank Sookie and Lafayette for making her continued existence possible? For most of the episode, all we get by way of answer to this question is a bunch of feral attacks and zooming around. However, the ever optimistic Sookie keeps Lafayette from staking VT long enough for her to say some human words before zooming off, so yay? Sure, they are “I’ll never forgive you two for what you’ve done to me,” but at least it’s a start.

Ignoring for a moment (a moment that lasts forever) the continued existence of werewolves and shifters, the rest of the episode did something strange: it hung together! The Iraq War, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” religious fundamentalism, and a man who’d rather admit to being a blood-sucking monster than a homosexual all point back towards one obvious reference: George head is on a spikeBush. It’s almost like as the presidential election approaches, the show’s writers think we need to be reminded how much worse than Obama it can get, never mind the fact that he’s continued most of the Bush policies relevant to this episode. Electoral politics!

Terry Bellfleur‘s war plot continues to be suspiciously human, with references to the PTSD, homelessness, and general lack of support that continue to plague veterans of the Iraq War. Also: serial arson. I wouldn’t be surprised if the perpetrator in question turned out to be some sort of vampire-werewolf-Nazi hybrid, just to keep things interesting, but kudos to True Blood for reminding us that this shit happened and is, in fact, still happening.

The most heavy-handed political critique, though, comes from the Authority, who prove once again that the only thing scarier than vampires is totalitarian government. Things get super Guantanamo Bay-like for Eric and Bill, what with the black hoods, dystopian prison, and “enhanced interrogation techniques” (i.e. torture) they’re subjected to. At least the Authority’s members claim not to be religious fundamentalists. (Also: I find the concept of “Sanguinistas” hilarious.) I still have no idea what their true agenda is–would they really need all that firepower if their only end game was “getting along nicely with humans”?–but perhaps it says something about the inherent paradox of waging war for “peace.” In any case, Chris Meloni is more believable as a vampire than I thought he would be, which is something.

And then there is Pam. Am I the only one who’s felt unfairly deprived of Pam flashbacks up until now? I could probably watch several whole episodes detailing her backstory as a tough talking prostitute/madam and how she met Eric, but Alan Ball doesn’t want me to be happy, so I’ll have to hope we at least see a little more next week.

Will Tara ever realize it’s awesome to be a vampire? Will they ever quit it with this werewolf/shifter bullshit? Will Beric be able to trade Russell Edgington (who is now a hideous nosferatu!) for their freedom?  It’s hard to believe the show’s two main dongs’ lives could ever really hang in the balance, but I’m as willing as anyone who’s still watching True Blood to suspend my disbelief a while longer.

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